It was around 1:30am late Thursday night. Bachelor businessman Ashraf (not his real name) was returning home from a friend’s place in Uttara to Dhanmondi. As the Mymensingh road is free, thirty-something Ashraf could not help himself cheerfully driving his white Toyota in full throttle.
Ashraf just crossed the Radisson hotel when a black Mazda zoomed past him in greater speed. Suddenly, Ashraf felt a rush of blood in his head. His right foot instantly pushed the accelerator pedal harder and his Toyota growled with greater speed. In seconds, the speedometer shot up to 120km and he was quickly catching up with that black Mazda as they approached the Banani Flyover.
It all happened in seconds. Neither the driver of the black car, nor Ashraf saw a truck plying on the road in regular speed. Without slowing down, the black car moved to the side lane from the central lane in order to overtake the truck. It lost control and hit the adjacent footpath and turned turtle while retaining the speed.
Ashraf was not wearing any belt; he could move his hands -- but his legs felt numb. He was trying to come out of the car -- but did not have the strength to do so.
As luck would have it, another car was passing by. A gentleman and his driver were returning home from a long drive from Netrokona at that time. Perhaps he did not notice the black car -- or perhaps he did. Ashraf cannot tell. But this gentleman saw the smashed car and noticed him trying to come out. He stopped and came out of his car.
As he approached his window, Ashraf mumbled, “please help me come out of the car …”
The man and his driver pulled him out of his car. He looked unharmed, but he could not move his legs. Ashraf asked them, “would you kindly drop me to a nearby hospital?”
They took him to the United Hospital. The gentleman then took his mobile phone, checked his call list and called the last person Ashraf had conversation with. It was one of his friends. He then broke the news to his friend that he had an accident.
By morning, some of Ashraf’s relatives and friends had gathered at the hospital. The doctors there were looking for a guardian for a decision based on X-rays and other checkups.
Ashraf’s friend tells me quoting the doctor, “His condition is quite serious. His backbone is broken. One of his critical veins in the backbone is in dangerous condition -- that’s why blood flow to his lower part of body is almost shut. He needs an operation urgently. Otherwise he will forever be paralysed.”
“And even if an operation on him is successful, it will take many months for him to recover,” the doctor pointed out.
Ashraf was then transferred to Trauma Centre, which is specialised in handling such cases. The doctors operated on him and fixed his backbone with a steel plate with eight screws.
Ashraf can now talk, share his trauma with his friends. But unfortunately he still cannot move his legs. The doctors however assured him that if he regularly takes therapy after initial recovery -- he may be able to walk within a year. But it’s unlikely that he would ever be normal again.
Ashraf’s friends later checked out the condition of his car and the other victim. They learnt from the police that the young driver and his friend in the black Mazdae car had almost no injuries. They were rescued by city beautification workers who were around that place at that time.But his car and Ashraf’s Toyota have become scraps and are now in police custody.
Ashraf’s tale is not quite isolated. Every once in a while mindless car races like this take place in the city roads after midnight. Sometimes nothing happens. Sometimes the drivers get seriously injured or even die -- but by morning, to the busy city dwellers -- the streets look the same and everyone forgets what stupid things might have hurt someone last night.
(The name of the victim was withheld on request)